The Executive Member for Adult Social Care, Public Health, Public Protection and Digital Inclusion and the Director of Adult Social Care and Health Integration submitted a report for Executive’s consideration.
The purpose of the report was to provide the relevant information to the Executive to seek approval, as per Part B of the report, of entry into a new contract with TASC for a period of 3 years to 31st March 2026 with the potential full term to 31st March 2030 under a block contract arrangement.
Teesside Ability Support Centre (TASC) have had a contractual arrangement with the Council since 1984 under Cleveland County Council. Middlesbrough Council inherited the contract when Cleveland County Council disbanded in March 1996. The service offered Social Care day service placements (including transport) across two sites in Middlesbrough and the surrounding area for people with Physical and Learning Disabilities. The main building was situated on Acklam Road and a smaller satellite centre operated from Manor Hub at Coulby Newham.
TASC were one of the largest day services in Middlesbrough in terms of number of placements and were one of the few services who had available transport for Service Users to use to and from the service. Attendance was choice based, led by the service user, post Social Care needs assessment and was a popular service.
There were 111 Service Users accessing 333 sessions a week, including self-funding placements and from other Local Authorities. Over 50% of the Service Users currently attending the sites were funded by Middlesbrough Council resulting in the Council being their main source of income.
All day services were forced to close from March to September 2020 due to Covid 19. When services did reopen, all attendance was adversely affected as many Service Users were unable to attend as they were classed as extremely vulnerable and were subject to self-isolation during 2020/2021. Return to services was initially slow for the majority of day service providers, however, service recovery for TASC was better than most.
The alternative options were to either Direct Award to TASC (via a VEAT notice) on a spot purchase basis covering the period of 3 years to 31st March 2026 with the potential full term to 31st March 2030, or to do nothing and let the contract expire.
Direct Award to TASC (via a VEAT notice) on a spot purchase basis covering the period of 3 years to 31st March 2026 with the potential full term to 31st March 2030 was not recommended as it would lead to further increased budget pressures and a spot contract arrangement would not offer financial resilience to the provider.
If the Council were to let the contract expire there was no alternative provider that would be able to facilitate the service that TASC offered, it would leave vulnerable service users without much needed services, which could have had a detrimental effect on themselves and their carers. Therefore, this was not a viable option.
That the Executive:
<![if !supportLists]>1. <![endif]>Note information contained in Part A of the report; and
<![if !supportLists]>2. <![endif]>That once all the financial or exempt information contained in Part B of the report had been considered approve the entry into a new contact with TASC for a period of 3 years to 31st March 2026 with the potential full term to 31st March 2030 under a block contract arrangement.
A block contract arrangement offered the provider financial resilience at a competitive rate to the Council. Utilisation would continue to be monitored and a clause included in the financial schedule that, should utilisation levels drop significantly for a consistent period of 6 months, it would instigate a review of the block financial schedule. Analysis shows that the service was well utilised.